The Manhattan Beach Senior All-Stars have the comeback thing down—it wasn’t the prettiest way to end a game, but it was exactly what the All-Stars wanted, another win.
For the second time in two nights, a late comeback secured victory. This time, Garrett Wells crossed the plate to break a 2-2 tie, following a towering pop up from Jack Webber that was misjudged and dropped.
Webber dug in with a 0-2 count and was able to make contact, hitting a fly ball to the left where shortstop Justin McMurrey converged with outfielder Frankie Sanchez. Neither came up with the ball and Wells tagged and crossed the plate safely.
“I widened my stance, choked up on the bat and fouled a couple off," Webber said. "I just wanted to get the ball into play. I got an outside fastball and it wasn’t pretty, but it fell and got the job done.”
Reliever Christian Reynolds was able to shake off back-to-back walks in the seventh and induce a grounder from McMurrey that second baseman Braden Casady secured, applying a tag on Vinny Avila for the game’s final out.
“We had a meeting on the mound and the guys just told me: 'You’ve been here before, you know what to throw, trust your stuff and let's go home,'” Reynolds said.
Manhattan Beach starter Jared Terry went four innings and despite not hitting all his spots, the right-hander managed to strike out seven El Rio batters in four innings, allowing just three hits.
"I was pretty happy with how I pitched," Terry said. "I didn’t hit all my spots, but was able to get some guys to swing and miss."
Reynolds picked up the win, going three scoreless innings in relief of Terry; keeping the ball low and keeping El Rio contact on the ground for easy putouts.
“Our pitching was big," said manager Carlos Rojas. "Jared didn’t have his best stuff and yet he had seven strike outs, and Christian, I can’t say enough about him; he’s as nails as can be at the end.”
El Rio received a solid start from Kyle Henschel, who scattered five hits and allowed one run in four and one third innings, but the All Stars would wait again until the late innings to strike.
"Give El Rio credit," Rojas said. "They are a good team and they kept coming all night. Neither of us hit the ball hard. Every play mattered and every close call mattered."
For the second straight night, Kevin Lopez came up with the game-tying hit. The speedster hit a slow bouncer off Tyler Spencer and was able to beat out the throw to first for an infield single that brought home Webber, who had reached base on an error earlier in the inning.
“When you put the ball in play, that usually leads to runs and we were able to get it when it mattered,” Webber said.
Manhattan Beach will face the winner of a matchup between El Rio and La Habra on Wednesday to possibly advance closer to the Western Regional Final in Ontario.
“We are in a good position, but we aren’t taking anything for granted,” Rojas said.